A drama teacher told me once that if he closed his eyes while I spoke, he believed me. But if he kept his eyes open, I just looked scared and young. Stage fright. I wasn’t frightened by the audience, but rather by myself. I’m still not over that.

In April, my mom gave Samuel (why bother with “Baby Man” now?) a Golden Book. It was what we call in our house “Monster Cat,” but which you might know better as Alice in Wonderland. One night, Samuel handed me “Monster Cat,” with the back cover forwards.

“Dis story Mama,” he demanded. So I flipped it over, and opened it up. “No, Mama,” he said, turning it back over, “Dis story!” He pointed at the circle of characters on the back. So I told him “that story,” which turned out to be the travels of an elephant in search of a balloon across miles and miles on train and in a boat, running into many friends along the way. He made that same request night after night.

Starting about a month and a half ago, Samuel rejected all his books, kept just wanting to snuggle. We’d turn out the light, get in the chair and he’d want a story. I’d turn on the light, and he’d get frustrated, “No! Snuggle!” After a couple of days Samuel demanded, “Mama! Tell story and snuggle!”

So I began babbling on about a Tom Turtle. Pretty soon, Samuel wanted Tom Turtle every night. Last week he began giving me clearer instructions. “Tom Turtle on a truck!” “Tom Turtle go Mississippi!” I thought it was a ploy, an excuse to avoid bedtime. But last night, after a long weekend and day of planning, I was exhausted. I just wanted to get out of the room, and Tom Turtle wasn’t having a very good adventure. Samuel pinched my lips together, said, “No Mama, do again.” So I started over. Pinched lips again, “No Mama, do again.” Finally, I hit on an acceptable plot line. Big sigh. “Yes, mama, sure, like that,” and he put his hand over my heart and rested his head.

Who told the universe I needed an editor?


2 responses to “Storytelling

  1. Can’t wait to see Tom the Turtle in print

  2. Wow! That is so lovely! I’m so bad with winging it when it comes to stories.

    It is lovely to hear the little details that make our relationships with our children so special.

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